One year ago, failing to win the independence referendum, Scottish PM Alex Salmond swiftly resigned. This has not been the case of President Artur Mas. At the end of the day, Spain, as the local cliché goes, is different, and Catalonia remains part of Spain. Following a very emotional and tense campaign, the pro-independence parties have won an absolute majority of seats in the Catalan regional parliamentary elections of September 27. Yet, they have lost the plebiscite they had claimed this election would be. They wanted a clear and overwhelming mandate, and a clear and overwhelming mandate there is not. They now backtrack by saying there are many “yes” votes hidden in not pro-independence parties’ vote. But if they count this election to be a plebiscite, as they said they will, then one counts the explicit “yes” on the “yes” camp and all the others on the “no” camp, even if you think you could find many implicit “yeses” here and there. The truth is that they have got 47.78 percent of the votes. The rest is hot air.
Many in the pro-independence ranks are ready to go ahead with a roadmap that will lead to secession from Spain in 18 months. No matter if there is not a majority of vote, an electoral majority will suffice.
The mainstream “yes” coalition (Junts pel Sí: Together for Yes) was aiming at an absolute majority, but they fell short by 6 seats. The other pro-independence party, the radical anti-capitalist Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (Popular Unity Candidacy – CUP) was aiming at a clear majority of “yes” votes in the “plebiscite”. They fell short by a few thousand votes. In short: there will be no free ride to independence, if there is going to be a ride at all.
All in all, the pro-independence tide seems to have reached a tremendous high, and there is no clear alternative on the other side of the shore. This is a stalemate scenario where everyone but the radicals on both sides loses ground. It has happened before, in other similar secession processes – in Canada and, more recently, in Scotland: under the stress of having to decide on independence, a society ends up deeply divided.
Full Article: Catalonia: no fast track to independence | openDemocracy.